Newbie question on motor


1 µW
Aug 26, 2017
Looking to purchase my first ebike. I was going with Sondors, but RedRover seems better. I also looked at Luna bikes. My question is what is better, the mid drive Luna or the RedRover's 750w hub drive? All this is very confusing depending on whom you ask. All I want is a bike that is quality and can go at least 10 miles on electric only. The terrain will be mostly flat with a few small hills. Finally, I dislike working on things and prefer to pay someone else although I'd rather not have to. All suggestions are appreciated as I'm not set on any bike at the moment.

Best regards,
James Welborn
Define small hills.

Buy the Leaf 1500W direct drive motor would be great for you, comes in a kit as well, looks like you can have the KT display which is really wonderful. It really doesnt matter if the controller is Sinewave or Trapezoidal. Sinewave is just more silent, I prefer a bit of noise. Geared motors are noticably louder and people on the pathway will hear the whine of the motor and turn around which is uncool in my books. Gotta be stealthy and ride like a gentleman, cool, calm and collected.

Mid Drive would be good for hilly terrain, or cargo. You could go with Cyclone or Bafang BBSHD, pro's and con's to each, do a search here on ES.

Battery - 10 miles you say, so you need some wiggle room. Lets make it a 20 mile range for the battery. How fast do you want to go? 36V is good or you could go 48V. Figure in like 25Wh/mile, so 500Wh total battery size. At 36V thats 15Ah'ish. Which is a good size pack. Through in a triangle bag from in China, solid reputable company, or maybe Luna has a triangle bag, in Washington I think (cant remember off hand). - triangle bag, 15Ah 36V battery, Torque Arms, spare throttle, freewheel removal tool, 3 speed switch, ~8A charger (dont forget that) for a 0.5C charge.

Leaf Kit - 1500W Motor, Controller, KT Display, Throttle, Cutoff levers, Pedal Assist if you want it, I dont know what switch is in the picture. This is the perfect kit for your needs. Its really efficient as Netrponix likes to point out, lots of get up and go if you want it. Programmability through the KT display. Should be a Plug-And-Play setup, most likely the connectors are "keyed" so you cant frock that up.
Thank you very much for your reply. The terrain in Florida is mostly flat and hills are mostly a slight grade. I'm not much of a DIY person so I'd like something already built. I'm looking for something reliable and less than $2k.

Best regards,
James Welborn
I guess you want a fatbike?

The Rover uses a similar motor as the Sondors. I've also got that motor in my own home built fatbike so I know its performance. However, I believe the Sondors still only comes with a 36V battery, and has only one gear. I think you call Uber for a minivan if you run out of battery. It's gotta be a pain to pedal with a flat battery. The Rover gets you an aluminum frame, better electronics, 48V battery, 7 speeds, and front suspension. Worth the extra money. It's limited to 20 mph, but I think they let you unlock the speedometer and then you can go 26-28 mph. The Sondors is easily unlocked, but its max speed is limiited to 20 mph by the battery.

Which Luna fatbike? They all look to be $2200 or more, but you do get the BBSHD motor and a suitable battery. They're all about power/speed. I bought a BBS02 mid drive from them and put it on an old mountain bike. Good motor, but that's Bafang who made it. (They also make the Rad Rover motor). Also have bought several batteries from Luna. WIth the mid drive, you need to be conscious of your gears and shift them to keep from lugging the motor. Actually, you should do that with any bike, but more and more riders don't want to shift.

If all you going to do is ride 10 miles on the street, the Radrover should do the job, look pretty cool, and not disappoint you when you realize you wanted a lighter frame, suspension, gears, and a bigger battery.
Thank you doc. The Luna I'm looking at is the Luna Comfort Cruiser BBS02/BBSHD. My main question is whether the mid drive or the hub drive is more reliable and easily repaired. It seems there is a toss up between the BB502 and BBSHD, so I'm unsure there as well. Given pricing and reviews, the Rad seems to be the better choice.

James Welborn
See Need Advice in sig.
Whats DIY about plug and play?
You dont want to save some money (about $750+) to plug a few wires in, and take a few minutes to put a wheel in its dropouts, then use some zip ties to securely place the controller on the rear rack and route the wires. Throw the battery in the pannier bag, or triangle bag. Thats all fine and dandy then.

Looking at Luna's site again, I see they sell complete packages at $1600 on up. You might as well go that route.

No hills means no need for a mid drive, hopefully Luna sells direct drive motors in the 1000W-1500W power levels. I just closed down Luna's browser tab.
jwelborn said:
Thank you all! I may just try to build one myself.

Its easy as pie!

It will also help in the future to fix a problem or to find a problem before it becomes e-un-ridable, say a loose connector, frayed wire, something rubbing, whatever it may be. Remember to get the motor already laced, that's the biggest hurdle - Trying to lace up a motor to a rim.

Try to buy it all in one place, but if you find a good deal or two on a specific item then go for it.

Dont be afraid, its not like an automobile. E-bikes are simple as pie!

Shall we say Sweet Cherry Pie because its a song!
I just watched the video of this bike and was very impressed, as was the (very well known) reviewer. It has a real torque sensor system and appears to be very well thought out. Cost is $1850.
:roll: "Very well known reviewer" ?????
Goes to his YT homepage
65k subscribers - Two 1M views, 670K, 470K, 370K, 298K, 281K, 255K, 237K, 222K, 208K, 184K
30 from 92K to 184K
49 from 50K to 92K

Nothing to sneeze at for sure. I personally like his review of Grin Tech previous Headquarters near Granville. Hopefully he will do another video tour of the new facility. I wont say anything else on the dude.
jwelborn said:
My main question is whether the mid drive or the hub drive is more reliable and easily repaired.
What do you think?
Just count the number of moving parts, and assembly hardware parts. Reliability and maintenance are directly related to those simple factors.

A well built hub motor bike can ride for years with only brake pads and tires to replace. Then, if it is beaten badly, it will need a wheel rebuild every year, and new bearings after an average of 20,000 km.

There are only 4 good reasons IMO, to use a mid drive:
1- You are limited to low power so a mid drive is the only way to have the torque required.
2- You want to build higher power and speed that a hub motor is capable of.
3- You want to retain bicycle characteristics in order to ride slow technical trails, jumping, etc...
4- You need to climb long steep hills and can't do it fast enough to ride a hub motor within its efficent RPM
In order of reliability from most to least:

1) DD hubmotor
2) Geared hubmotor
3) Mid drive

This is consistent with the number of moving parts. Also, a DD hubmotor with variable electric braking / regen makes brake maintenance essentially go away as well. The remaining maintenance is primarily tire flats and tire wear, and a few drops of chain lube. Florida's wet weather and humidity may make it more important to wash the bike and lube it for rust prevention, if you ride in the rain.

Flat tire repair difficulty is the same list in the same order, if listing from max difficulty to least. Mid's are easier as the wheels are normal bike wheels whereas the DD hubmotor has the most weight to contend with, and both hubmotors have torque arms and big axle nuts to deal with, not so fun alongside the road (especially in the rain).

DD motors are great on flat terrain. Geared hubmotors and mid drives are increasingly able to handle steeper hills. A DD hubmotor with enough power can do fine on hills, but motor weight and higher power battery make the bike heavier.

In Florida, I hear that riding on the road is fairly risky due to the large proportion of elderly and distracted drivers that run into bikes. I didn't look into accident statistics, so I don't have hard data, but get a good rearview mirror and ride defensively, away from traffic if you can find a route.

Perhaps the biggest problem is bike theft, depending on where you need to park it.